Tutorial - How to prepare a metal miniature...

by Roman aka jar

posted by roman, jarhead, kong


now this tutorial is about preparing a miniature which you want to paint up for showcasing, for presentation, for its simple beauty - not for gaming. My entry thought to this theme is - take your time, as mostly to everything in life you want to do right :)

David thinks about the Showcase/Gaming Table Thing...

 "I would say that most of what you say here should be done for ordinary gaming miniatures as well as showcase miniatures. There's nothing that ruins a paintjob like obvious mold lines, and of course pinning is very important for gaming miniatures, which have to endure a lot of transportation and handling, and occasionally worse abuses. The difference is not so much a matter of what you do before painting, but more a matter of degree. For gaming miniatures, you want to smooth obvious mold defects before painting, while for showcase miniatures you want to be extremely slow and careful. The idea is to go over the entire miniature "with a fine-toothed comb" as we say in English; hopefully my meaning is clear to anyone unfamiliar with the idiom. You want to be absolutely certain that you have cleaned up all mold lines, all areas of roughness in the cast, all joints between different parts, and so on, because such things are impossible to fix once you have begun painting. When preparing the same miniature, you might spend 20 minutes when preparing it for gaming, but 2 hours when preparing to paint it to showcase standard."

- and somehow he is totally right, thanks for the quote!

The Miniature to this Tutorial is the Arkvenger from Pegaso Models, which should be 54 mm but actually in real he is something in between 54 mm and 75 mm - a really massive guy :)

Ok, what does the Kong mean with preparing a miniature for painting? Sure there are different definitions of "Preparing" - it starts with the cleaning and sure some take a shower different then others. Here we go - this is for sure just my own view on this theme and there sure are other views to it which are surely also right in the end, there will never be a way to pure Perfection, there are a lot - so it is up to you to find out what you like...

What you need?

- Sandpaper, not so fine and finer one
- Some Rasps, finer ones and others not so fine (to file something)
- toothpicks
- Drills, small and big ones
- a knife or a cutter or a scalpell
- a calliper
- steel wool
- and a smile on your face while looking forward to take some time :)
- Sure a miniature you want to prepare...

If you got everything ready like in the picture above you first have to think about what your miniature will be for in the end. Will it be a gaming miniature so these following steps are surely not the best idea to do something in a high number. If you got a miniature you want to enjoy only in painting then a good preperation can avoid accidents and anger, anger is not good while painting, believe me i also learned it the hard way.

Out of the Box Cleaning

Ok, your miniature is ready like this

- out from the box i use sandpaper, numbered with 400 to clean the miniature up from casting mouldlines. I am not sure if this number (400) is also known in other places of the world, just let me know if this brings up some misunderstandings. The common evil mouldline looks like this:

And believe me, there is no miniature out there who ain't got it. It comes from the production, there is now way you have none, some are bigger, some are smaller, some are upon an evil place like an eye but all in all take them with a smile, face them and kill them with time and patience - i have learned it the hard way as i told you, a mouldline seen in the progress of painting just sucks.

Using rasps and the calipper

Not often i am using rasps. Not often you might need them, only if your miniature parts come stuck on another piece of metal for holding it or the feet, like here on the Arkvenger are prepared with fitting parts which should find their place in the delivered base. Then i use the calipper to cut it and the rasps to make it plain in the end. That makes stong muscles - no it ain't, haha.

Fitting the parts together

Always take care of your parts which you want to bring together, try them before you glue them. Sometimes it happens that 2 parts don't fit together very gently, like this:

If you take a closer look you may see why, something left from the production which shouldn't be there:

Just bring such places to cleaness with sandpaper or a rasp and you are thankful in the end.

Using steel wool

After cleaning everything up and you still want to go a way further, then steel wool might be the key. Here you see some places which are not perfectly clean - now it is time to polish everything up for a great underground of the upcoming paint.

After taking the time needed your pieces can be really brilliant and look like this:

Sure i am not doing this step on every miniature i paint - only when the highest quality effort shall provide the best start to a Happy Painting session :)

Donation of the parts

For maximum fixedness i am not only glueing the pieces together with super glue. I put in a metal pin in 2 parts coming togehter in the end and therefore i have to drill a hole. Try to bring it on two parts at mostly the best fitting places, so you easily can slide them together. In that step sometimes you may find some hard hiding mould lines - kill them without thinking about hesitation. I am using the metal of a paper clip in that case. The drill is the standard drill from Games Workshop.

For fixing the miniature later on at a socket where it will be painted up i use the metal of a fixing pin at the feet.

Now, this is the point where to glue the parts together after checking them again for mould lines and other evil things - kill them with your powerful sandpaper :)- after you really got everything together, take a soap and water and clean the parts from fine rests of the working process, now glue it together - you also should clean the model again after the model is put together, because your fingers could have made the areas unclean...

The socket the Arkvenger will be up to is just used for painting the model without the base and bring both parts together in the end.

 You may fix it like this with a distance between the model and the socket:

I did try this at the Arkvenger but he really is too heavy, that is why i put the feet on top of the socket to provide maximum stability while painting him. In the end it will be a short fight to bring him down again, but the feet sure have to be more integrated into the upcoming base with maybe dust or whatever and it ain't a problem doing a tiny repaint there - that is what i say now, haha, read us later on in the Step by Step article.

What do to with pieces that might constrain you while painting?

No problem at all - leave them gone at the moment, but prepare them with a metal pin so you can easily put them on place when the time is ready. I did this on this miniature with the cloak.

Upcoming Steps

Ok, still i got some areas i want to clean a bit more or which i did see on the photos - so another check is the next step - you can't check it enough when you want a brilliant Happy Painting time...

This will be followed by Filling Gaps with Milliput


If any questions might come up to this please feel free to ask or if i really had done something terrible wrong, let me know :)

Happy Painting and Preparing! Always keep a smile on your face while doing :)


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